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The Lubbock Lights
The Lubbock Lights

The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects

by Edward J. Ruppelt


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This is Edward J. Ruppelt's memoir of his role in the seminal US Air Force UFO study projects: Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book. According to this account, he coined the acronym 'UFO' and put many of the official procedures for reporting and studying UFOs in place. An enjoyable read, this book captures the feel of working for the mid-20th century US military. He describes the changing attitudes of the USAF about UFOs during the early 1950s: wobbling between denial, ridicule, paranoia, and genuine inquiry.

A key point of this book is to resolve doubts about the military's role. Ruppelt makes a strong case that UFOs weren't a top secret weapons system; the reports were not disinformation by intelligence agencies; nor was there a concerted effort to cover up UFOs by the US government. Ruppelt does recount many times when the brass tried to dismiss reports without investigating them sufficiently. However, this comes across as simply standard-issue military 'cover-your-ass' behavior, not a vast conspiracy.

He gives unique details on some of the most impressive sightings on his watch. These were largely witnessed by highly trained observers such as radar operators, fighter and commercial pilots, astronomers, and other scientists, often during the course of their official duties. The Air Force group that Ruppelt worked for had access to data on top secret balloon launches and test flights, so they were able to sort out which reports could be explained in this way. He consulted with a wide range of scientific specialists, many of whom were in favor of the extraterrestrial hypothesis, and some who were skeptics.

Fully a quarter of the reports were still unexplained after this rigorous filtering. Ruppelt is decidedly agnostic, but open-minded, about the reality behind the 'unexplained' sightings. Unlike Keyhoe, he does not claim that UFOs are interplanetary spacecraft, only that this is one of the possible explanations. --J.B. Hare, May 13, 2008.

Title Page and Front Matter
Chapter One. Project Blue Book and the UFO Story
Chapter Two. The Era of Confusion Begins
Chapter Three. The Classics
Chapter Four. Green Fireballs, Project Twinkle, Little Lights, and Grudge
Chapter Five. The Dark Ages
Chapter Six. The Presses Roll—The Air Force Shrugs
Chapter Seven. The Pentagon Rumbles
Chapter Eight. The Lubbock Lights, Unabridged
Chapter Nine. The New Project Grudge
Chapter Ten. Project Blue Book and the Big Build-Up
Chapter Eleven. The Big Flap
Chapter Twelve. The Washington Merry-Go-Round
Chapter Thirteen. Hoax or Horror?
Chapter Fourteen. Digesting the Data
Chapter Fifteen. The Radiation Story
Chapter Sixteen. The Hierarchy Ponders
Chapter Seventeen. What Are UFO's?